Disclaimers and Useless/Useful Stuff to Know:
Don't own Justice League. Never did, never will. Post-Doomsday Sanction. Contains slash.
Pink Makes Me Uncomfortable

by Alba Aulbath


It was quite possibly two in the morning and hardly an appropriate time to call someone on their phone - much less, their cell phone. On most occasions, people would be asleep at the time and would unfortunately wake up to the sound of the phone ringing at them and demanding to be picked up. Now, generally, Vic was sensible enough to get sleep by at least one in the morning, but he had been up late, doing some business.

Like watching over Wally and investigating what little he could by just staying at home.

When his cell rang, it was bothersome due to the fact that any few people who might have known the number would not be sane enough to call at such an ungodly hour.

"Who is it?" Vic asked calmly, not at all letting any exhaustion into his tone.

"Vic," the voice on the other end regarded with caution, but a lighter tone than Vic was particularly used to.

The detective almost twitched. "Hello, Bruce. Bit late for a chat, isn't it?"

"How's Wally?"

The question wanted to be avoided, predictably. "Fine. His suit was destroyed, and there's a number of suspicions going around about him. He can stay here as long as he needs to; no one will bother him."

Somehow, that hardly comforted Bruce, regarding his tone. "You and I need to talk, Vic."

"We are."

"Vic and Bruce need to have a conversation, downtown Hub City, that Indian cuisine you like taking Wally to so much."

That was not any of Bruce's business. It had to be only Batman who was capable of getting any kind of rise out of the Question. "What's the occasion for Bruce Wayne?"

"Holding an interview for the local newsreporter Vic Sage in relation to concerns of Central City. Bruce is the donating type, in or out of Gotham."

There was the temptation to say 'no'. Vic had wanted to keep his eye on Wally as much as he could, but clearly, this wasn't going to be possible in the next few hours. He'd have to make sure that he wouldn't be lonely, though.

Fortunately, Lois was in the city.

"What time is good for you, Bruce?"


Either morning or afternoon, Wally didn't know, he had woken up to the sound of harsh knocking on the front door, which was quite surprising. After all, where would Vic possibly be to not answer whoever was there?

In a matter of seconds, the Fastest Man hurried around the apartment, cleaning himself quickly and nabbing some clothes he found that Vic had folded and set for him - it was a bit big, a dark sweater and pair of jeans, but he would deal - and stopped in front of the door before brushing back short red hair lazily.

Opening it, Wally looked a bit surprised and squinted faintly. "Lois?"

"That's my name, don't wear it out." Lois folded his arms. "You ready to go, Wally?"

That was even more confusing. "Huhwhuh?"

"Vic called me this morning and said he had to run out and meet someone; told me to keep you company. I'm not up for babysitting, but figured you'd be better off with my company than Vic's anyway." Lois smirked a little. "Vic didn't tell you?"

Wally shook his head, then paused; he held up his index finger, telling her, "Hold that thought." He turned and glanced around the apartment quickly for anything out of the usual that he hadn't noticed before. Peoples strewn about, newspaper clippings, laundry that really needed to be done, a post-it note on the 'fridge-

Stopping, the redhead peered at the little yellow paper.

Wally,
Ran out to see someone. Lois will be by. Stay with her. BBS. - Vic

"Couldn't be more vague," he muttered, then sighed immediately afterwards. Being vague was something Vic did very well, and was probably going to be seriously annoying to Wally; though understandably, the detective probably wouldn't go into details for his own benefit. Vic just wouldn't want to worry the young speedster.

It was still irritating.

Hurrying back to the front door, he waved the little paper between a thumb and an index finger. "I didn't even notice this," he admitted, grinning sheepishly. "Where we going?"

"Well," Lois began, placing a hand to her hip, "I'd give you the grand tour of the city, but it's not exactly the most jolly place to explore. It makes Gotham look like an innocent suburbian city. So I figured I'd just take you to a little restaurant down the street and we should be okay."

"Y'don't mind takin' time to hound me?" Because that was all Wally assumed this was. Someone had to keep an eye on him considering what the hell happened - which was not something he appreciated. He wasn't a child, he wasn't going to do anything stupid...

Well, okay, he might.

"Hound? No. I'm not going to coddle you, or tell you everything will be all right or anything like that. But we can definitely chat or something. Besides, you're a resident of Central City, you can probably tell me something about the Flash while we're out." Lois motioned him to follow. "Keep close, Wally; you have no idea how many muggers love to populate the streets. Be lucky if you snag a taxi."

Wally almost hesitated to step out of the apartment. It was secure, in a bizzare way, and there were some other things that he had heard from her before. "What if someone recognizes me out here?"

"If they did, I don't think anyone's going to care. Besides, it's not like it was your fault. If it was, Vic wouldn't have let you room with him." Lois waited for him outside the door, folding her arms. "Come on. It won't be a long walk, and we'll talk. Smallville says it's one of your favorite things to do."

"Clark's got no idea." Wally pulled on a pair of shoes - he wasn't even entirely sure if they were his or not, he wasn't paying attention and wasn't up to checking - and stepped out the door after her.

Not babysitting him. Just spending time talking to someone who was writing a story on either you being dead, known, or being responsible for deaths.

Not a problem.


It was indeed one of the spots he preferred to take Wally to, knowing the speedster favoring the spicier foods of the world. Honestly, it wasn't one of Vic's favorite restaurants, but it was a bit late to argue on the location of the meeting, anyway.

Arriving on time, the paranoid detective sat himself down across from the billionare boy. A facade, of course. Ironically, the physical mask was the inner-man of the Dark Knight, and the rich boy was the disguise.

"Bruce," Vic muttered in greeting.

"Victor." Bruce's tone was eerily light and quite friendly, but the detective knew why; appearances were being kept, for the moment, as the waiter came near. "Hello. Just coffee, please. Cream, no sugar. I haven't finished looking at the menu yet."

Vic's appearance, however, was usually about the same. He didn't become friendly or lighten his voice. "Coffee. Black. ... Curry. With chicken."

Nodding, the waiter left. The detective sat back and took off his hat, scowling at Bruce, but said nothing. He was waiting for Gotham's protector to begin.

"How's Wally." It was hardly a question; the Batman was demanding.

"You asked me that when you called at two in the morning."

Batman did not repeat himself. It almost caused the paranoid detective to sigh in irritation.

Vic shrugged instead. "He's tolerating the situation. Honestly, he's just biting everything back."

"When did you tell him about your name?"

"Whenever. Not important. What do you need?"

Batman narrowed his eyes faintly. "Why did you take Wally in? He could have stayed at the Tower, or-"

"Or Wayne Manor?" Vic stared at him, his face completely expressionless. "You'd be wonderful company, Bruce."

The darker detective was almost inclined to grant him a diabolical snarl, but had better control over his emotions than that. The fact of the matter was, while there was a level of understanding and respect between the two - they both had quite the habit of obsessive tendacies, to the point in which they discovered both of their civilian names and lives, which had irritated the both of them - both Vic and Bruce were also capable of getting on each other's nerves.

After all, they knew exactly what to say to piss each other off.

"Why did you take Wally in," was repeated, much more flatly.

"Wanted to." Vic shrugged. "Someone had to. I have time to make for him. Can you?"

That wasn't something to be answered, apparently. Batman completely avoided it. "Is it personal?"

"Don't know?"

There was a dark, wry smirk on Batman's face. The expression caused Vic to chew the side of his mouth in irritation. "I know. Don't you?"

"Why wouldn't I?"

"We play the 'denial' game really well, Vic. The fact of the matter is, you shouldn't make it personal. Don't make this difficult on Wally, or I will get involved."

Vic did not usually take well to threats, especially when he knew that Batman would do exactly that. "Oh really." His tone shook with a chill, something trembling that suggested merely... disturbance.

Batman played the dark and frightening detective; Vic was the creepy and paranoid one. That set them apart, which was possibly why they rubbed each other the wrong way.

"I know your history, Vic. Obsessive, possessive, compulsive; you make it personal, you make it difficult." Batman narrowed his eyes. "For both of you."

"This is what you wanted to talk about, Bruce?" Vic briefly eyed at his glass of water, thinking how nice it'd be to throw it on the Dark Knight's face. "Me, housing Wally? I move him to anyone who's even more involved in the media than me - namely a billionare man - and he gets more attention than necessary. Lois knows he was with you when Thanagar invaded; who else knows?" He folded his hands together. "You know probably by now: Wally's being suspected by the authorities of blowing up his own home. Why would they think he'd be in Hub City? He's safer with me right now than with you or Clark."

The points were clear, and the silence made Vic feel silent triumph.

Still, it didn't stop Batman from snarking at him.

"I find him miserable, and I'll make you feel as if you should be rotting in the ground five years ago."

Vic stared at him flatly. "Charming."

The subject was put to a pause when both of their coffees arrived. It didn't help the tension much.

When the waiter left, Batman continued. "I've started investigating. Obviously, there's a connection to Wally; it wasn't random at all. There'd been a bomb specifically set up in his apartment, but apparently, he didn't realize it. That's all that I've gotten so far."

Vic nodded once. "Any suspects?"

"Most of them are locked up, and others... doesn't make sense to me. Not Grodd's style, and he seems the most likely to know about who Wally is and where he lives. Trickster, maybe, except it's not flashy and he hasn't gloated about it yet. Plus, if he knew about Wally, he'd have shared it with others by now." Batman narrowed his eyes, irritated. "I've narrowed down the list - which isn't helping."

"Maybe you've overlooked an unlikely link."

Batman shrugged. "That's your job."

That was true. Vic was already involved, and he already had quite the desire to find out what he needed to, at any cost.

Nothing was going to stop him.


It had been, in Lois's opinion, lucky that they hadn't run into any muggers considering they were practically the population of Hub City. She had mused as they walked that she wondered why Vic stubbornly stayed in the city - it was literally prepared to collapsed onto itself.

She had stated, "The League isn't even really doing anything about it. Sure for a few years, the faceless guy's been dealing with it, but if the League isn't going to jump in, it makes you wonder if the place is worth saving."

That had made Wally silently wince, and... well, sure, he was curious, too. While Wally toggled between Keystone and Central City himself - which to most would be difficult but hey, he was the Fastest Man Alive - they were only a little less sunny in appearances than Metropolis. Hub City could make Gotham blush.

If cities blushed, anyway.

Regardless, Wally wondered: what kept Vic anchored to Hub City?

Maybe Vic Sage just gave a damn.

Lois and Wally finally arrived at a restaurant, and the speedster immediately recognized it with a little bit of fondness. He'd been taken here on a few occasions during his lunch time with Vic.

"You don't mind spicey, right?" Lois glanced to her companion, tilting her head.

"Nah, I prefer it."

"Good. Come on."

After they stepped inside, it wasn't long until they were seated. Lois seemed to be fine taking up her side of a conversation, since Wally was feeling unusually not-so-talkative - which was quite normal when you felt responsible for the death of others and the law thought the same for different reasons.

"I have to say, I still find it surprising that Vic's having you stay - not that I'm not grateful, you don't deserve to be blamed for something that wasn't your fault. He just doesn't really try to reach out, and when he does, he can definitely be a creep about it." Lois took her seat across from the red-haired man. "It's not like he'll put up video cameras where you live and watch you 24/7 - but that's probably because he hasn't thought of it yet."

Wally hesitated. Well, sure, Vic was obsessive and probably had some problems (okay, he had a lot of problems, who didn't) but he wouldn't video tape people.

Would he?

"Though that doesn't mean he won't watch you when he can and take notes on every little thing you do. I have no idea if it's a trust thing or if it's a thrill for him."

Depending on the person, one could take her words the wrong way.

Wally West was that kind of person, and it make him think. Thrill? Vic didn't really strike him as the type. After all, a good chunk of the League pretended that there was no such thing as a sex drive - though he supposed you'd have to, running around in spandex.

Then again, even as the Question, Vic did not wear spandex.

"Uh-huh," is all Wally replied with, to let her know he was listening.

"I remember when we were dating, I felt like I was practically incapable of going anywhere without telling him where exactly and when I'd be back. Even then, I could swear, somehow he'd be watching me. He has the best interests, but talk about obsession." Lois shook her head. "There was that time I found several photos of me in one of his desks. That had been the final straw."

What the heck was Vic doing with photographs? Wally didn't want to consider the possibility.

But he did.

Man, what's he do with all of those photos? By himself? ... OhjeezIdon'tthinkIwannaknow. And watching her?

A little too much information for him. Really.

"I mean, Bruce wasn't that bad," Lois muttered, shaking her head.

"So, uh... should... I be worried about Vic?" Wally asked weakly.

Lois looked alert, then smacked her palm to her forehead. She had been worrying the poor guy after all of the trauma he'd been going through. Smooth, Lois. "Oh, no! No, you have nothing to worry about Wally. Sorry. I was just remembering outloud." She laughed a little, mostly awkwardly. "Besides, he has redeeming qualities, and a part of me really can't entirely blame him for being the way he is. He's been lied to so much in his life. Anyway, it's not like you have to worry about him stalking you. You're not dating him or anything."

No, they weren't. Vic was a friend, though, and Wally worried. Sure, they all had problems, but... Vic was starting to outdo Bruce's 'King of Issues' status.

"You're not, right?" Lois peered at him.

Aside from doing the lunch thing every Friday? Wally was pretty sure that didn't entail the status of 'dating'. But it made him think for a moment. "Nah."

Lois noted his pause. "Uh-huh." She grinned for a moment.

He hoped to change the subject. "So besides being kinda-sorta creepy..." Wally trailed off, unsure how to ask his question.

Yet, Lois seemed to understand, smirking. "Like I said, Vic has redeeming qualities. For example, he has a completely gorgeous singing voice."

"Thank you."

Both Lois and Wally froze. The dark-haired woman peered over her shoulder, seeing the pair of men seated behind her, and met eye-to-eye with Bruce Wayne. Vic was sitting across from the billionare.

"Uh," Wally greeted.

Vic nodded silently, giving some attention to his curry. "Convenient place to take Wally, Lois," he muttered.

"It's not like I know a lot of places in Hub City, Vic. Why are you here with Bruce?" The Daily Planet reporter glanced to the dark-haired man.

"Mr. Sage wanted an interview. A bit short notice, but I was more than happy to drop by," Bruce explained, his voice quite pleasant.

All three of them knew completely better than that. The friendly tone used almost made Vic choke on his chicken, Lois wasn't sure if it was appropriate to snark at Bruce, and Wally just felt completely uncomfortable of having hard Lois talk about Vic while the man was sitting right behind them.

Stupid fate.

"What is it you like to say, Vic? 'Nothing is coincidental'?" Lois peered over at the man trying to focus on his lunch.

"And what makes you think Bruce is here other than for innocent interview?"

Lois folded her arms. "You don't interview anyone for their innocence."

Vic hesitated, then glanced at Bruce, shrugging. It was a helpless expression; Lois knew of Bruce's alterego, and also knew of Vic's habits. It was a no-win situation in the matter, and both of them were incapable of convincing her it was just a perfectly harmless interview, because she simply knew better than that of both men.

It didn't help that she had dated both of them, they supposed.

"Well, what ARE you doing here?" Lois eyed at Bruce, expectantly.

"It's just an interview, Lois," Bruce assured. "Mr. Sage is currently housing Wally, and I wanted to assure that I'd like to do the best that I can to help him. Wally's a friend. I'm sure Clark's told you."

"Friend." While Lois was aware of Bruce's identity, she still had a lack of knowledge of everyone else's. Regardless, it didn't keep her from being suspicious of Bruce. "So you came all the way to Hub City because of an interview."

"And I was worried. Mr. Sage let me know that Wally was in town." Bruce nodded to Wally, who felt completely sheepish about being talked about due to his unfortunate situation. "So I had to come by."

That satisfied Lois enough. On one hand, Vic would probably keep anyone, even someone like Bruce, at a distance from Wally while attempting to find out what Bruce was going to do about it, and she knew the length of Bruce's obsessiveness as well.

Didn't have Vic Sage beat, though.

"All right." Lois considered, then sighed. "Sorry," she said quietly to Bruce.

He did offer her a smile, understanding perfectly fine.

Wally rubbed the tip of his finger against the rim of the glass of water on the table, frowning to himself. It was awkward, from talking about Vic's obsessiveness, to Vic and Bruce being there, to being talked about as if he wasn't there. While he did appreciate Lois's protectiveness, he felt like there was going to be a lot of that around from just about everyone he knew, and he wasn't entirely sure if he could accept it in spite of how he felt.

Guilt? Yes. Still in shock? Most definitely. The entire thing hadn't even fully settled into him yet.

Wally heard a very familiar click and lifted his head.

That had been a click of a gun.

To the speedster, everything was slow motion, and he turned his head to spot a man in a coat that shadowed him and a hat that also concealed his identity. Also, there was a handgun pointed at him.

Pointed at him. Wally West.

He planted his feet to the floor and shoved himself away from the table as soon as the man fired his gun, managing to only leave a bullethole in the wall. The restaurant went completely silent before there was panic.

"Shame." The coated man stood up, tossing off the hat and jacket. An all-too-familiar man. "I missed."

It was Deadshot.

Civilians shrieked and immediately began to flee; they were easy pickings for someone of Deadshot's calibur, but they were not his targets. The assassin kept his eyes set on Wally, who paled and stared at him. Lifting up a second weapon, there was a smirk in the sniper's tone, "Might want to hold still."

The handgun was turned to aim at Lois, who barely mantained a surprised noise; you get used to danger when you're in Metropolis, but she was currently in Hub City, miles from Superman. Batman might be sitting behind her, but he was still mortal.

Wally glanced at the dark-haired woman, at a loss for his options. He could only remain utterly still.

"That's the spirit." Deadshot fired at him.

It was in a matter of seconds, and Wally was perfectly capable of watching. For him, it was slowed. Vic had used his table to leap off of, right towards the speedster. The detective threw his arms around Wally, taking him to the floor - but the younger man still saw that Vic had taken the bullet for him in the shoulder as they slammed against the floor.

Lois let out a yelp of surprise as Bruce grabbed ahold of her wrist, pulling her towards him and taking her towards his table where it had been knocked over by Vic's stunt.

In spite of his injury, Vic stood up, eyeing at Wally; he gestured, ushering him to get away. Turning to Deadshot, the paranoid man took himself into action without another moment's hesitation.

Admittedly, it was one of the few times Wally had ever seen Vic in action - normally as the Question. This time, though, it was Vic Sage who was leaping in a completely perfected form, one that Wally was used to seeing in Batman. The detective let out a sharp kick, which had gone against Deadshot's knee; there was a loud crack in result and the assassin nearly fell to the floor, but was yet to be defeated.

The sniper brought up his elbow, slamming it across Vic's face, throwing him off balance. Deadshot lifted one of his weapons, preparing to fire - but had instead collapsed to the floor in a heap after Bruce had delivered a well-placed kick to the back of Deadshot's head.

Normally one would be grateful. However, instead, Vic muttered bitterly, "That's two I owe you."

"Three if you count our first meeting," Bruce grunted back.

"I'm not." Vic stood up, then he glanced down at his shoulder. The bullet had gone through, but he was definitely bleeding. The detective could only blink and say, "Oh."

"'Oh,' he says. Oh. As if you're used to being shot." Lois let out a nervous laugh. "Never mind, you live in Hub City. Damn it, Vic, try to stop the bloodflow, you idiot." She stood up and quickly started to phone for an ambulance on her cell.

"Jesus fucking Christ, Vic!" Wally hurried over, but attempted to keep himself as slow as possible considering Lois's presence and a few lingering (and panicky) customers. He grabbed onto Vic and pulled him to a chair immediately. "Take off your jacket."

Vic narrowed his eyes. He didn't like to be fussed over. "Wally-"

"Don't you 'Wally' me and take off your stupid jacket! I mean... fuck. Fuck, don't you jump in front of me and take a hit again, you lousy jerk!" Wally shook his head, helping the detective with his coat.

Bruce approached, taking out from his pocket some cloth and bandages. "Here," he growled softly, his tone much more like the Dark Knight.

"Always prepared," Vic muttered.

"Never know when you have to be. Go ahead, Wally. I'll go talk to Lois and make sure Deadshot stays down." Bruce turned away sharply.

Wally nodded, shaking. For him, it was basically a rapid vibration; he was nervous. Terrified. But he attempted to help anyway, unbuttoning the detective's shirt and peeling part of it back to work at the wound.

Vic, on the other hand, was perfectly calm and it pissed Wally the hell off.

Still, the realization began to set in as he bandaged the detective (something that came with practice, after a few years in the League). "Oh shit," Wally whispered. "Shit. Fuck, Deadshot was after me. Why...! I mean... jeez!"

"Wally." Vic eyed at him. "Calm down."

"No! I mean... God. Vic, it was Dead-fucking-shot after ME. What the hell did I do? Does he know? What...!"

The detective had stood up abruptly, hands on Wally's shoulders, as he peered at him closely; there was only an inch between their faces, and it was closeness that Wally wasn't sure was on purpose or not. Regardless, Vic told him without hesitation, "Calm down. Deadshot likely doesn't know who you are; he gets hired to kill people, and typically isn't given anything other locations and money."

Wally hesitated, then laughed weakly. "Oh, good. So the person who hired him knows."

"Maybe. But it keeps a supervillain from spreading the information. Besides... you know we'll investigate this." Vic narrowed his eyes. "Keep your head, Wally." There was hesitation before he continued. "...It'll be okay," he reassured quietly.

It was definitely a rarity to hear anything remotely kind like that from someone like Vic. It was enough to make Wally swallow hard and nod to him.

Vic nodded in return and wisely sat back down, allowing Wally to finish the bandages. "At least, on the other hand, this should keep the authorities off of your back," Vic told him. "With Deadshot having been after you, it'll make it evident you weren't responsible for the bombing."

"That doesn't really make me feel better, believe it or not," Wally muttered drily. "But thanks."

Vic hesitated, scowling a little. He wasn't particularly good with being openly emotional, to assure him. "...Everyone in the League is watching your back, Wally." The detective looked up from his seat. "But it's my eyes that are on you first and foremost, 24/7."

Regardless of Lois's 'stalking stories' having freaked him out a bit, that had been a strangely sweet sentiment from someone like Vic. Wally paused, then his expression softened.

"Thanks," was repeated, with much less cynicism from Wally.

Vic felt his pride and ego flare.


Oddly, it had been a quick visit from the doctor Vic was apparently all too used to seeing. In a place as criminally infested as Hub City, one was used to being injured somehow in someway... Vic Sage especially. It was a quick job, considering how clean the bullet had gone through. In any other city, a doctor would have insisted on the patient to stay.

In Hub City, the doctor could only sigh and say, "Stay safe, and if the injury gets aggravated, take some painkillers."

Good for Vic, who hated to stay too long in a hospital, but typically for a city, it wasn't a good sentiment. It made Wally depressed.

Bruce assured both red-haired men that he'd take Lois back to her apartment, and even insisted that he stay for a night to make sure she would be safe. It was normally since they stopped dating that Lois probably would have refused, but after the incident with Deadshot, she quietly agreed. There was a lack of Superman around, so having Batman to guard her was well accepted.

Deadshot had been taken away by the authorities, but it did not make any of the four feel secure. Vic was sure that he was going to have to pay him a visit as the Question soon.

For the moment, there was Wally to worry about.

Once they had arrived to Vic's apartment, Wally declined the offer of food. It was something to worry about, considering the young man's metabolism, but instead of insisting he eat the detective agreed to leave him be about it.

In which case, Wally had gone back to bed, but could not sleep.

It horrified him. Deadshot appearing had made everything settle inside of him. Lois had been in danger, so Wally could only accept what would have been his fate, if Vic had not intervened. People had died, because someone had been after him, of all people. His home was destroyed, everything he owned (which was not as important but it still really sucked) was gone, people were dead, and some of his costume had survived to tell that the Flash had lived there.

People could be making connections, which bothered Wally even more. Especially since Superman's girlfriend was investigating it.

Wally bit his lip and turned over in the bed, eyes shut tightly. In one grand instant, everything went to hell for him. Sure, he usually kept optimistic - he was doing a good job of it, he figured - but he was in deep. As the Flash he had no costume, as Wally West he was being hunted by someone he didn't know. The League was watching his back and a crazy obsessive man was allowing him to stay in his apartment.

It was really fucked up and Wally felt like bursting into tears.

He sighed, staying curled up under the sheets. There was a desperate attempt at sleeping; he was tired enough, but his mind was just thinking so rapidly about the situation that it seemed almost impossible for him to rest.

The unrest was to the point that he didn't realize someone had approached, standing right over him, whispering closely into his ear, to the point where he could definitely feel lips and warm breath against him.

It was a voice he was used to hearing as an off-kilter, creepy tone, whether it was with a faceless man or a man without expression, but at the moment it was completely smooth and rich-sounding as it carried a tune.

Wally realized he was being sung to.

It wasn't actually anything he heard before, though in acapella it was actually quite soothing, which was odd to think of from someone like him who had never been soothing before.

The lyrics were difficult to remember or to even carry about; it was the tune and the voice responsible for bringing him, bit by bit to his slumber. But he could recall, particularly:

"Honey child, honey child. You got a funny little way, a way of teasing."

He really wasn't sure why, but it made him finally sleep, and that was good enough.

Plus, he had to agree with Lois:

Vic had a gorgeous singing voice.


Finally, he was satisfied when he was positive that Wally was resting. Stepping out of the room, Vic closed the door, frowning to himself. It was unacceptable, seeing someone like him going through this. Completely and utterly intolerable, especially since Batman's list of suspects was at such a minimum.

Who would hire Deadshot to do their dirty work?

It irritated him, to the point of making his body tremble. Vic turned quickly, heading immediately to the bathroom. Peeling off his gloves, he tossed the leather into the trash before he ran the water blaringly hot. It burned, and anyone smart would turn down the temperature, but honestly he simply couldn't help himself as he washed his hands.

He grinded his teeth, just seethingly furious. Someone was hurting Wally, someone he had allowed himself to trust. Someone he had began to allow himself to care about.

It caused him to recall what Bruce was talking to him about before.

How personal was it?

Too personal and not something to think on, his mind told him.

But HOW personal...?

Vic tossed the bar of soap out and rinsed his hands before turning off the water. It helped, but he was still trembling, just completely furious.

It didn't help that the doorbell rang.

If it was Bruce or Lois, Vic swore he was going to strangle them.

The detective walked to a closet, opening it and taking out a fresh pair of leather gloves before pulling them on. Turning, he walked to the door as the bell rung a second time. Undoing the five locks (not including the knob) that were aligned on the door, he opened it, finding himself facing a tall man with dark hair, glasses, and wearing a suit.

Vic glared, trying very, very hard to keep from grinding his teeth. "Clark Kent."

"Vic, where's Wally?" Clark was concerned, of course.

"Sleeping. Who the hell told you this address?"

"Bruce." Clark frowned. "I'm sorry. I know it's invasion of your privacy, but Wally's important to all of us."

"Hn." Vic was going to strangle Bruce and then maybe kick him. "...I understand. Don't like it, but I understand. Lois is in town."

"I heard from Jimmy. He took some photos of Flash's suit, I heard."

Vic hesitated. "Inside. Now. Don't talk in the open." He stepped aside, allowing the Daily Planet reporter inside. After Clark stepped in, the detective shut the door, and began to lock and unlock the door, counting to himself.

"Lois is investigating, I guess, but I just hope she isn't going to pester Wally or y- ...What are you doing?" Clark turned to watch him.

Vic didn't respond until he was finished with the last lock, mumbling to himself, "...three... four... five..." Looking up, he frowned at Clark. "Nothing." He was shaking a bit less. Just slightly less. "Lois doesn't suspect Wally. She thinks he's perfectly normal. Just a victim. Probably from association with you."

"I don't get what that means."

"Farm boy Clark Kent. What do you think?"

Clark understood, then nodded. "But she knows that he knows Bruce."

"So do you." Vic shrugged. "Doesn't matter. More worried about Wally. Deadshot attacked."

Apparently, Bruce hadn't told the Man of Steel yet, considering his reaction (not that he blamed Bruce, all things considered lately). "He DID? When? Is he hurt...!"

"Earlier. Restaurant. Wally's fine. Physically, anyway." Vic didn't mention he took the bullet; it hadn't mattered. "Deadshot was hired by someone. Don't know who yet. Suspect list isn't long."

Clark sighed. "It figures. Bruce isn't talking to me much about it." He looked both irritated and guilty at the same time. Considering the incident with Doomsday, his friendship with the Dark Knight - if you could call it that - had gotten much more rickety.

It didn't keep Clark from caring, of course.

"Worry about the world, Clark. I have Wally covered. So does Bruce."

This brought hesitation from Clark that Vic did not like at all. "That's... what I wanted to talk about," Clark admitted. "Aside from checking on Wally."

"Mm-hmm."

"I can bring Wally to Metropolis. Or to Smallville. Victor, he's not safe here."

"Not safe anywhere," Vic told him. "Whoever's after him knows about his link to League. Maybe about Bruce, you, or me. Knows he's here, anyway. Somehow."

Clark frowned. "He's not safe here," was repeated.

Whether or not it was innuendo that wasn't there, Vic saw it in a different light. He could understand what Clark was getting at. "You suggesting I'd do something to Wally?" he asked darkly.

"Vic, your behavior isn't something I feel comfortable with. I don't think Wally needs to-"

"I would never hurt Wally," Vic told him sharply. "And I don't think we need remarks on my behavior after your stunt with Doomsday."

Clark visibly winced. "We're not talking about me."

"We're not talking about Wally, either." Vic felt himself quickly returning to angry trembling. "I'll let you know something, Clark. He wouldn't feel comfortable with you, either. He wouldn't feel comfortable with Bruce. He wouldn't. I know. Things. You definitely don't. I know he isn't sure how to approach you about what you did. What the Original Seven - or is it Six, can you people decide? - debated and did." The detective tilted his head, looking like someone who definitely ought to have been in Arkham with the way he eyed at Clark.

"If Wally is going to be anywhere," Vic told him, his voice off-beat and angry. "If he's going to rest, he's staying. Here. Not with you. Not with Batman. Not in the Tower. Me. He can't be the Flash right now. He can't deal with aliens and metahumans and other people running around in their underwear. He can hardly deal with his own crisis, much less what the League is going through. He is. Staying with. Me."

It might have been unnecessarily chilling from Vic. It might have been a somewhat deranged tone, but it was enough. Enough to convince Clark.

For the moment.

"Don't hurt him. Don't make this worse for him," Clark told him.

"I do, and the Martian can rip my mind out." Vic eyed at him. "You were leaving."

"Vic-"

"You were. Leaving."

Clark let out a soft sigh. "...I suppose I was. If anything happens... if someone else comes after Wally..."

"I'll let Bruce and the Martian know. Depends on them to tell you, Clark." Vic pointed at the door. "Done?"

The Kryptonian nodded, frowning softly. He turned his head, in the direction where Wally was; Vic suspected he used x-ray vision to check on the speedster. It was unnecessary, but if it made Clark leave, then he didn't say a word.

As soon as the Man of Steel left and Vic was done locking up the door, he came to a decision.

"Line my walls with lead. Note to self. Line. Walls. With lead." Vic seethed faintly, then turned to the bathroom.

His anger was at an all-time high, and he needed to wash his hands again.


Next: Wally finds out some things on Vic's background. The Question goes to investigate with Batman on who's making attempts on Wally's life. Lois connects the dots.

Notes:

The clear some things, when Vic remarks that it's 'two' he owes Bruce, I'm counting two incidents in the comics. But I'll elaborate on that a bit later.

Deadshot's appearance was brief, but it's important, as you can expect.

Vic's obsessive-compulsiveness here is not based on anything in the comics at all that I'm aware of, but it'll be explained hopefully by the next chapter.

While this will be a slashfic, it seems to be taking a backseat to the 'who's trying to kill Wally' plot. Hopefully, that doesn't bother anyone.

To the loving audience:

Red Tigress: I'm very glad you're reading this, then. I have a wide variety of taste, ranging from slash to het to generally anything. I'm hoping it'll develop tastefully for you, considering the plot. And I love mystery, I seriously do. Besides the Question is a detective-type, I figure some mystery really works for his character. Plus, because it's about Wally, he's definitely involved.

Emmy: As you can expect, Wally's got his work cut out for him when it comes to denouncing Vic's obsessiveness. :D

balletangel19: They've never interacted in the comics that I know of, and they probably won't ever in the show that I'm aware of, but I love writing their interaction anyway. I'm real glad the interaction is just as fun to read for you!

Sagga Bott: For me personally, the Question became an instant favorite when I saw him in JLU. He's so different from everyone in so many aspects. Even though he's a detective type, his personality sets him greatly apart from someone like Batman. Flash might be my primary favorite, but Question comes to a close second, and that's just from viewing him in one episode!

Kapparan Majic: I really suggest buying at least a first issue of Blue Beetle, where the Question makes an appearance. I think it's the first issue, anyway; might wanna research that. Regardless, the Question is an interesting character. His comic series is definitely for a mature audience, though, for all of the crazy stuff that happens in Hub City. It's pretty dark, and it'd probably give you a good idea why the Question's kind of crazy in Justice League Unlimited. But I'm also glad it's witty enough; with all of the crap going on, it's going to need to have some funny bits.

wickedomen1: It's been a couple weeks, but here's the new chapter! Still like it?

Reptilian Goddess: Glad you like! I'll try to explain how the Question looks. As Vic Sage, he's actually quite a looker in the JLU setting. He has a very mature face, but it's not very expressive. I have to say, though, from someone I know, she remarked that she didn't expect to see 'the face of a model from someone who picks through everyone's trash'. He has the same shade of red hair as Wally, and it's cut relatively short. As the Question, a type of gas he uses seals on a faceless mask, but it also changes his hair to black and changes the colors of his clothes, so basically most people don't suspect (I say most because of Batman, who suspects everyone) that Vic Sage would be the Question. If you want pictures, I have some. You can either IM me or request by e-mail!

Keep on writing! Thanks so much for the support, but I'd still like more!